International Perceptions About Obama


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Here are some are some perceptions about President-Elect Barack Obama which have appeared mostly in the international press and reprinted mostly by The New York Times. I have purposely not attributed these quotes or the country of origin so that you can focus on what is being said, rather than who said it or where it was said. In many cases these are statements of government officials, academics and social scientists and they emanate from nearly every continent.

A Unique Country
"There is a country out there where tens of millions of white Christians, voting freely, elect as their leader a black man of modest origin, the son of a Muslim. There is a place on Earth – call it America – where such a thing happens."

A Shifted Course
"But wonder is almost overwhelmed by relief. Mr. Obama’s election offers most non-Americans a sense that the imperial power capable of doing such good and such harm – a country that, they complain, preached justice but tortured its captives, launched a disastrous war in Iraq, turned its back on the environment and greedily dragged the world into economic chaos – saw the errors of its ways over the past eight years and shifted course."

A Part of Us
"People feel he is a part of them because he has this multiracial, multiethnic and multinational dimension. People find some thread of their own hopes and ideals in Mr. Obama. He represents, for people in so many different communities and cultures, a personal connection. There is an immigrant component and a minority component."

America Again a Beacon of Hope
"His ability to inhabit so many categories mirrors the African experience. For America to choose as its citizen in chief such a skillful straddler of global identities could not help but transform the nation’s image, making it once again the screen upon which the hopes and ambitions of the world are projected."

Empathy with the Poor Nations
Mr. Obama’s background, particularly his upbringing in Indonesia, made him suited to understanding the problems facing the world’s poorer nations.

Overcoming our Racist Past: A Symbol for Others?
"There is another paradox about the world’s view of the election of Mr. Obama: many who are quick to condemn the United States for its racist past and now congratulate it for a milestone fail to acknowledge the same problem in their own societies."

Changing our Image in Russia
"Definitely, this will improve America’s image in Russia. There was this perception before of widespread racism in America, deeply rooted racism."

An Obstacle in Nigeria but not in the U.S.
"If Obama had been a Nigerian, his race, color and age would have been an intractable problem."

Everything is Possible
"He has so many things not preferable in a president. He is a black, and his middle name is Hussein, and all that stuff. But this is a country where everything is possible."

Focus on Quality
"This is a historic moment not only for the United States, but so we can all get away from perceptions about religion and race and instead consider the quality of the person."

Obama on Iraq
"While the election of a black man as the president of the United States was considered admirable, Mr. Obama’s promise to start withdrawing troops from Iraq was a cause for great concern."

Change – For Real?
"But most of the teenagers at the post-election discussion said they would need convincing before they were willing to believe that ‘change’ was more than a slick slogan."

I would only add that while Obama stands as a role-model for all Americans — minorities as well as whites — hopefully, his election will also change perceptions of blacks within their own communities. For example, I have heard that some young black men who are hard-working students and make excellent grades are ridiculed by their black friends as being “too white". Now we have a black president who stands among the elite in terms of his academic pedigree.

Further, Obama was criticized by some blacks during the primary days as not being “black enough” because he was not descended from slaves. Hopefully, his election now is a symbol for all blacks everywhere. The polls have shown that there was no “Bradley effect” (a vote in the voting booth is different than a poll declaration) among voting whites, and that Obama got 43% of the white vote.

Obama connected with a large number of the voting public both verbally and silently by projecting calm, humility and leadership. His victory – as has been acknowledged – is a transformational one, both actually and perceptually, throughout the world. May his achievements in the next four years stand as tall as the perception about Obama stands today.

International Perceptions About Obama


This post is by from My Three Cents


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Here are some are some perceptions about President-Elect Barack Obama which have appeared mostly in the international press and reprinted mostly by The New York Times. I have purposely not attributed these quotes or the country of origin so that you can focus on what is being said, rather than who said it or where it was said. In many cases these are statements of government officials, academics and social scientists and they emanate from nearly every continent.

A Unique Country
"There is a country out there where tens of millions of white Christians, voting freely, elect as their leader a black man of modest origin, the son of a Muslim. There is a place on Earth – call it America – where such a thing happens."

A Shifted Course
"But wonder is almost overwhelmed by relief. Mr. Obama’s election offers most non-Americans a sense that the imperial power capable of doing such good and such harm – a country that, they complain, preached justice but tortured its captives, launched a disastrous war in Iraq, turned its back on the environment and greedily dragged the world into economic chaos – saw the errors of its ways over the past eight years and shifted course."

A Part of Us
"People feel he is a part of them because he has this multiracial, multiethnic and multinational dimension. People find some thread of their own hopes and ideals in Mr. Obama. He represents, for people in so many different communities and cultures, a personal connection. There is an immigrant component and a minority component."

America Again a Beacon of Hope
"His ability to inhabit so many categories mirrors the African experience. For America to choose as its citizen in chief such a skillful straddler of global identities could not help but transform the nation’s image, making it once again the screen upon which the hopes and ambitions of the world are projected."

Empathy with the Poor Nations
Mr. Obama’s background, particularly his upbringing in Indonesia, made him suited to understanding the problems facing the world’s poorer nations.

Overcoming our Racist Past: A Symbol for Others?
"There is another paradox about the world’s view of the election of Mr. Obama: many who are quick to condemn the United States for its racist past and now congratulate it for a milestone fail to acknowledge the same problem in their own societies."

Changing our Image in Russia
"Definitely, this will improve America’s image in Russia. There was this perception before of widespread racism in America, deeply rooted racism."

An Obstacle in Nigeria but not in the U.S.
"If Obama had been a Nigerian, his race, color and age would have been an intractable problem."

Everything is Possible
"He has so many things not preferable in a president. He is a black, and his middle name is Hussein, and all that stuff. But this is a country where everything is possible."

Focus on Quality
"This is a historic moment not only for the United States, but so we can all get away from perceptions about religion and race and instead consider the quality of the person."

Obama on Iraq
"While the election of a black man as the president of the United States was considered admirable, Mr. Obama’s promise to start withdrawing troops from Iraq was a cause for great concern."

Change – For Real?
"But most of the teenagers at the post-election discussion said they would need convincing before they were willing to believe that ‘change’ was more than a slick slogan."

I would only add that while Obama stands as a role-model for all Americans — minorities as well as whites — hopefully, his election will also change perceptions of blacks within their own communities. For example, I have heard that some young black men who are hard-working students and make excellent grades are ridiculed by their black friends as being “too white". Now we have a black president who stands among the elite in terms of his academic pedigree.

Further, Obama was criticized by some blacks during the primary days as not being “black enough” because he was not descended from slaves. Hopefully, his election now is a symbol for all blacks everywhere. The polls have shown that there was no “Bradley effect” (a vote in the voting booth is different than a poll declaration) among voting whites, and that Obama got 43% of the white vote.

Obama connected with a large number of the voting public both verbally and silently by projecting calm, humility and leadership. His victory – as has been acknowledged – is a transformational one, both actually and perceptually, throughout the world. May his achievements in the next four years stand as tall as the perception about Obama stands today.

Drucker: Defining Business


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Peter Drucker, the esteemed business strategist and visionary, developed simple definitions of some of the most popular words in the business vernacular, e.g. success, management, people, plans, leadership. I discovered these in Drucker’s books. I hope you find them as thought provoking as I did:

  • Business – the purpose of a business is to create customers

  • Education – leaning how to learn, and continuing to learn all one’s life

  • Efficiency – doing better what is already being done

  • Hiring – finding out what someone is really good at, and then placing him or her in a position where those strengths can produce results

  • Innovation – the act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth

  • Leadership – doing the right things

  • Management – doing things right

  • Management Focus – the great danger in an organization is that managers disappear inside it and spend all their time and Continue reading "Drucker: Defining Business"

Drucker: Defining Business


This post is by from My Three Cents


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Peter Drucker, the esteemed business strategist and visionary, developed simple definitions of some of the most popular words in the business vernacular, e.g. success, management, people, plans, leadership. I discovered these in Drucker’s books. I hope you find them as thought provoking as I did:

  • Business – the purpose of a business is to create customers

  • Education – leaning how to learn, and continuing to learn all one’s life

  • Efficiency – doing better what is already being done

  • Hiring – finding out what someone is really good at, and then placing him or her in a position where those strengths can produce results

  • Innovation – the act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth

  • Leadership – doing the right things

  • Management – doing things right

  • Management Focus – the great danger in an organization is that managers disappear inside it and spend all their time and energy on internal problems

  • People – the most important resource in business

  • Plans – good intentions that immediately degenerate into hard work

  • Success – wherever there is a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision

  • Time – a unique, irreplaceable and necessary business resource that most people take for granted


Technorati Tags: Peter Drucker, business vernacular, education, efficiency, hiring, innovation, leadership, management, management focus, people, plan, success, time, business, communications, public relations

From Financial Chaos to Financial Order


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Transparency is a powerful antidote for what ails our capital markets.
Christopher Cox
Chairman
SEC

In view of the globalization of our financial markets, shouldn’t we form an international body that, if not a regulatory group, at least a watchdog alert system which helps prevent transactions in one sector or country from negatively affecting other areas. As Tom Friedman noted in his New York Times October 19th column: “We’re all connected and nobody is in charge.” Is my proposal too wild a dream?

The British were invested to the tune of $1.8 billion – according to Friedman -- in Icelandic banks that went under, and which the Icelandic government finally seized control of. Among the investors were 120 British municipalities, as well as universities, hospitals and charities. Of course, this is most likely a footnote to the billions in mortgages which were bundled and sold up the global Continue reading "From Financial Chaos to Financial Order"

From Financial Chaos to Financial Order


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Transparency is a powerful antidote for what ails our capital markets.
Christopher Cox
Chairman
SEC

In view of the globalization of our financial markets, shouldn’t we form an international body that, if not a regulatory group, at least a watchdog alert system which helps prevent transactions in one sector or country from negatively affecting other areas. As Tom Friedman noted in his New York Times October 19th column: “We’re all connected and nobody is in charge.” Is my proposal too wild a dream?

The British were invested to the tune of $1.8 billion – according to Friedman -- in Icelandic banks that went under, and which the Icelandic government finally seized control of. Among the investors were 120 British municipalities, as well as universities, hospitals and charities. Of course, this is most likely a footnote to the billions in mortgages which were bundled and sold up the global financial ladder, the root cause of this international credit crunch.

In the same New York Times issue and across the page, Christopher Cox, SEC Chairman, comments on the lack of regulations on credit default swaps, which are like insurance on assets that default, in this case, mortgage-related securities. $440 billion in AIG – issued credit default swaps, have been put at risk. Cox notes that the total market for these swaps -- $55 trillion, bigger than the GDP of all nations on earth – operated in the shadows, without public disclosure or any legal requirements for these contracts to be reported to the SEC. Therefore, says Cox, “So government regulators have no way of assessing how much risk is in the system” – and how others may be threatened.

If we know what is going on and report it accurately, then investors will have confidence in the markets, can assess risk and know where to put their money.

However, I do recognize that this will be no easy undertaking given the differences in regulations and market philosophies throughout the world. For example, while the U.S. capital markets are “rules-based,” markets in the UK are “principles-based.” In addition, there are varying accounting standards throughout the world that would have to be meshed in some way.

Cox argues for Congress to set up such a regulatory system. Let’s do that. But I say take it another step forward. Since internationally we are all each other’s clients (key global economies are already tied together), why not set up a transparency system that at least watchdogs the world, and assesses the possibility of establishing global regulations that will change worldwide chaos to worldwide order? As difficult as this may be, it is worth a try. The management of this intricate global economic system may also yield peace dividends.

How Newspapers Can Adapt to the Internet Age


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I’m intrigued by an idea I’ve recently read about called “community funded journalism.” A website called Spot.us seeks ideas for investigative articles that people feel should be done and then asks the community to provide the funds to pay journalists to do the work … the end result of which is published on the site. Obviously, if there is no response, the story dies.

Why am I intrigued? Because if properly handled, it could be a very democratic and collaborative way to save newspapers and one that, but for the Internet, could not happen. It also offers public relations professionals an alternative to a relevant editor in the print media who is holding back a commitment to cover a client story that desperately needs to be told. We, of course, all realize that this “Spot.us innovation” has come about because the rise of the internet has resulted Continue reading "How Newspapers Can Adapt to the Internet Age"

How Newspapers Can Adapt to the Internet Age


This post is by from My Three Cents


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




I’m intrigued by an idea I’ve recently read about called “community funded journalism.” A website called Spot.us seeks ideas for investigative articles that people feel should be done and then asks the community to provide the funds to pay journalists to do the work … the end result of which is published on the site. Obviously, if there is no response, the story dies.

Why am I intrigued? Because if properly handled, it could be a very democratic and collaborative way to save newspapers and one that, but for the Internet, could not happen. It also offers public relations professionals an alternative to a relevant editor in the print media who is holding back a commitment to cover a client story that desperately needs to be told. We, of course, all realize that this “Spot.us innovation” has come about because the rise of the internet has resulted in a decline in advertising support of newspapers.

The good news is that an article that flies via Spot.us truly has the support of various groups; in fact, that support (or lack of it) adds an element of measurement before the article is even printed. Furthermore, anyone can propose a story about anything. This further empowers citizens. Newspapers can develop their own website version of Spot.us, setting it up as a supplement to their print editions.

What are the possible downsides of this creative idea? The New York Times notes: (1) If an organization with an agenda sponsors an article, the piece could be biased. Therefore, Spot.us limits every contributor to no more than 20 percent of the total cost. It also seems Spot.us should cite the profiles of the contributors, if not the names themselves. (2) This approach enables journalism to be bought by the highest bidder. But, once again, limiting the percent any one contributor makes can offset this problem. (3) Newspapers have a right to purchase these stories from Spot.us but then they would need to disclose that they did so and perhaps even reveal the profile of the underwriter. (4) News that is important may not get the support it should, and key stories could be lost.

This “crowdfunding” approach is worth thinking about because it is another example of how newspapers might adapt their model to the Internet age, and help solve their financial problems. Of course, their profits would have to be taken into account and when arriving at a price, many journalists would become free agents, receiving assignments from multiple news organizations, thereby employing many of those who are now out of work.



Technorati Tags: newspapers, internet, community funded journalism, Spot.us, community, The New York Times, crowdfunding, business, communications, public relations

What If the Whole World Could Vote?


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The U.S. is one of the most powerful countries in the world, so it’s not surprising that there are lots of non-Americans who share our intense interest in the U.S. presidential election. The Economist is giving them a voice through a nifty web-based global version of the U.S. Electoral College.

The fact that the Economist is doing this speaks to the world impact of our government — an interesting point in view of the almost universal “U.S.-bashing” over the past eight years. It also underscores the financial magazine's recognition of the importance of its nearly 700,000 U.S. subscribers and the need for continued growth here.

In an interview with Ad Age, the Economist’s Ron Diorio is quoted as saying, “We're trying to recognize that the U.S. has a significant role in the world's economy and politics and offer people a way Continue reading "What If the Whole World Could Vote?"

What If the Whole World Could Vote?


This post is by from My Three Cents


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




The U.S. is one of the most powerful countries in the world, so it’s not surprising that there are lots of non-Americans who share our intense interest in the U.S. presidential election. The Economist is giving them a voice through a nifty web-based global version of the U.S. Electoral College.

The fact that the Economist is doing this speaks to the world impact of our government — an interesting point in view of the almost universal “U.S.-bashing” over the past eight years. It also underscores the financial magazine's recognition of the importance of its nearly 700,000 U.S. subscribers and the need for continued growth here.

In an interview with Ad Age, the Economist’s Ron Diorio is quoted as saying, “We're trying to recognize that the U.S. has a significant role in the world's economy and politics and offer people a way to get a little bit off their chest.”

The authentic U.S. Electoral College is comprised of 538 electors, the equivalent of the total membership of both Houses of Congress (435 Representatives and 100 Senators) plus 3 electors allocated to Washington, DC. Each state has as many electors as it has Representatives and Senators in Congress. Since the most populous states have the most seats in the House, they also have the most electors.

The Economist’s version gives 195 of the world's countries — including, of course, the U.S. — a say in the election, by allocating a minimum of three electoral-college votes to each, plus one vote for every 700,000 citizens in the country. For example, China, with a population of more than 1 billion, has 1,900 votes; the Bahamas has 3. The U.S. has been allocated 432 votes out of the 9,875 vote total.

Voting in the Economist's Global Electoral College will close at midnight London time on November 1, when the candidate with most votes will be declared the winner.



Technorati Tags: U.S. presidential election, Economist, U.S. Electoral College, U.S.-bashing, Ad Age, Ron Diorio, Congress, Global Electoral College, business, communications, public relations

An Urgent Transparency Concern


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I have an urgent transparency concern that impacts all political parties, our government, the entire nation and the world.

It is brought to mind by the current publicity noting whether McCain's health records have been fully exposed, that only 20 reporters were invited to a three-hour only session last May to review 1,173 pages of these records without the ability to take copies. Of course, the records refer just to McCain's physical health, and the review time allotted and the number of reporters involved seem inappropriate in view of the gravity of the situation.

But why pick on McCain? True, his melanoma history is an issue, but what about the physical health records of all four candidates running? Further, what about their mental health records? Why aren't they vetted and presented in an organized way simultaneously for all to see?

Shouldn't there be an election law requiring that certain standards Continue reading "An Urgent Transparency Concern"

An Urgent Transparency Concern


This post is by from My Three Cents


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




I have an urgent transparency concern that impacts all political parties, our government, the entire nation and the world.

It is brought to mind by the current publicity noting whether McCain's health records have been fully exposed, that only 20 reporters were invited to a three-hour only session last May to review 1,173 pages of these records without the ability to take copies. Of course, the records refer just to McCain's physical health, and the review time allotted and the number of reporters involved seem inappropriate in view of the gravity of the situation.

But why pick on McCain? True, his melanoma history is an issue, but what about the physical health records of all four candidates running? Further, what about their mental health records? Why aren't they vetted and presented in an organized way simultaneously for all to see?

Shouldn't there be an election law requiring that certain standards be met in the release of both physical and mental health records to the media? And once elected shouldn't presidents and vice presidents have a required mental health check up the same way it is now traditional to have a physical health check up--with results reported to the public?

According to NYU’s Scienceline blog — which is produced by graduate students in the university’s Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program — the medical records of presidential candidates are shielded by federal law. No candidate for commander-in-chief is legally required to disclose any medical conditions. Nevertheless, I feel strongly that the public has a right to know if a candidate suffers from any physical or mental condition that impedes his or her ability to govern … and that includes the ability to make a rational decision.

For 20years, mental conditions were hushed up, insurance did not cover psychiatrist visits, and the voting public would tag anyone as "crazy" if he or she had a psychological consultation. Many remember the removal of Tom Eagleton as a Democratic VP candidate in 1972 because it was discovered that he once had had shock treatments. Yet, according to a 2006 study in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 18 US Presidents suffered from a variety of psychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and alcohol abuse.

Fortunately, times have progressed, we are more sophisticated and understand the wonderful miracles that can be wrought by medical treatments of many kinds. That does not mean that certain conditions may not, indeed, warrant removal. On the other hand disclosure should not necessarily mean termination of a candidacy. But standards for disclosure should be set, and the degree of detail that is required. The 20 reporter, 3-hour limit McCain imposed should not be at his discretion. Today, sitting presidents customarily go through an annual physical with personal physicians, but the examination is not legally required. And even in this enlightened age, there is no law requiring a public report that our leaders are still of sound mind and body.

It was shocking for me to learn in Doris Kearn Goodwin's book, No Ordinary Time, which focused on the domestic impact of World War II, that Franklin Roosevelt had not had a complete physical checkup for years during his presidency, and only did so at the insistence of his daughter, as he became increasingly listless during the latter part of his third term. His physical showed that he had been suffering from an increasingly serious case of congestive heart failure over three years---undetected until that checkup. If my memory serves me correctly, the book revealed that this information was never released to the American public. Roosevelt was reelected for a fourth term---and then died within a year after the election.

Our nation's survival may be dependent on legislated transparency when it comes to the health condition of our candidates and leaders.


Technorati Tags: transparency, McCain, health records, presidential election, election law, Scienceline blog, Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program, Tom Eagleton, mental health, Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, Doris Kearn Goodwin, Frankin Roosevelt, business, communications, public relations

Current Financial Chaos Spotlights Ineffective Crisis Communications Planning


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Bad news abounds. Banks are failing as in the case of WaMu. Lehman went bust. “Shotgun” mergers a la Bank of America’s recent takeover of Merrill Lynch have taken place. All at a dizzying pace. This has led me to wonder how prepared were our government officials and the managements of these companies to deal with these crisis situations? From where I sit, not very well.

Given the amount of money at their disposal it is inconceivable to think that those in charge of these entities could not have afforded to retain crisis communications specialists. If they did have access to such advisors, they probably weren’t used effectively. Often, bankers and investors can delude themselves into thinking that the good times will last forever, never planning for the inevitable downturn.

For nearly 30 years we have advised clients on how to navigate a crisis, many have been severe. Many of Continue reading "Current Financial Chaos Spotlights Ineffective Crisis Communications Planning"

Current Financial Chaos Spotlights Ineffective Crisis Communications Planning


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Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Bad news abounds. Banks are failing as in the case of WaMu. Lehman went bust. “Shotgun” mergers a la Bank of America’s recent takeover of Merrill Lynch have taken place. All at a dizzying pace. This has led me to wonder how prepared were our government officials and the managements of these companies to deal with these crisis situations? From where I sit, not very well.

Given the amount of money at their disposal it is inconceivable to think that those in charge of these entities could not have afforded to retain crisis communications specialists. If they did have access to such advisors, they probably weren’t used effectively. Often, bankers and investors can delude themselves into thinking that the good times will last forever, never planning for the inevitable downturn.

For nearly 30 years we have advised clients on how to navigate a crisis, many have been severe. Many of these clients did not have a crisis plan in place before coming to us. We prepare our clients for the worst case scenarios. We brainstorm with them and encourage them to think the unthinkable about every possible situation that could impact their businesses. Then we develop a plan. About half of what you need to navigate a crisis can be done well in advance of it hitting.

While I could fill pages with advice, I will offer a few helpful management tips:
  • Manage expectations – This might be too daunting a task given how rapidly things change in times of a crisis; however, communicating appropriate expectations about the degree of a problem on an ongoing basis will earn management a degree of credibility and speed the recovery process for the company’s reputation.


  • Know your stakeholders and rally the troops – Although it may be too late to build a relationship with key stakeholder groups once a crisis hits, it is not too late to reach out to them to reassure them and address their concerns. All stakeholders are important but employees are critical to the firm’s ability to weather the storm, therefore, special attention needs to be placed on employee communications during times of crisis.


  • Speak with “one voice” to all stakeholders – Simplicity, clarity and frequency are the name of the game here. Companies benefit from a consistent delivery of a message of stability, control and a plan to rectify the situation.


  • Increase management visibility – In times of crisis, the senior management team needs to be visible, project a level of control, tackle the tough questions, offer plans and solutions, and instill a level of confidence in all stakeholders to foster the belief that the company can emerge stronger than ever.


  • “We don’t comment on rumors” doesn’t apply in crisis situations – If unfounded rumors regarding the health of an organization are causing investors and other stakeholders to act irrationally, the firm has an obligation to publicly address their concerns for the benefit of all stakeholders.

A crisis plan is like your last will and testament; you need one but hope you never have to use it.



Technorati Tags: crisis communications planning, financial chaos, WaMu, Lehman Brothers, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, mergers, crisis plan, management, stakeholders, business, communications, public relations

Bridging the “Green Gap”


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The gap between values and behavior represents a significant reputational risk for individuals, institutions and entire industries. It’s true for the Presidential race. It’s true for Wall Street. And it’s no less true for corporations’ role in addressing climate change, according to the results of a study released by our firm today.

Conducted by Harris Interactive, the 2008 Makovsky Green Gap Survey of 150 leading executives at Fortune 1000 companies found that the vast majority (80%) of top American executives say they are “personally concerned” about climate change. Despite the fact that they believe that climate change is real — and a threat to future generations — as a group they are not driving their organizations to act on those convictions. For example, 76 percent say that their companies should be collaborating with industry groups, suppliers and/or customers to address CO2 emissions standards, but only 57 percent are doing so. Continue reading "Bridging the “Green Gap”"

Bridging the “Green Gap”


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The gap between values and behavior represents a significant reputational risk for individuals, institutions and entire industries. It’s true for the Presidential race. It’s true for Wall Street. And it’s no less true for corporations’ role in addressing climate change, according to the results of a study released by our firm today.

Conducted by Harris Interactive, the 2008 Makovsky Green Gap Survey of 150 leading executives at Fortune 1000 companies found that the vast majority (80%) of top American executives say they are “personally concerned” about climate change. Despite the fact that they believe that climate change is real — and a threat to future generations — as a group they are not driving their organizations to act on those convictions. For example, 76 percent say that their companies should be collaborating with industry groups, suppliers and/or customers to address CO2 emissions standards, but only 57 percent are doing so. While 71 percent say that their companies should be educating employees on climate change issues, only 49 percent are following through.

This is the “green gap.” What accounts for it? It’s not what you would think … it’s not that there is no perceived pay-off for responsible environmental stewardship. In fact, the vast majority (73%) of senior executives link environmentalism with business success. Sixty-one percent say that actions taken by corporations can, in fact, effect change on the environment. What’s more, three out of four (75%) think their company’s action on climate change issues could improve their corporate or brand reputation, strengthen sales and ROI (67%) and improve employee recruitment and retention (58%).

With such a substantial pay-off, why is there a “green gap” at all? According to the respondents, it’s a matter of resource allocation (cited by 60%) and cost (47%).

In her post on BusinessWeek’s Green Business blog, Associate Editor Heather Greene quotes, Makovsky EVP Robbin Goodman as saying, “American business leaders as a group are deeply concerned about global warming and believe that responsible environmental policies make business sense. The challenge moving forward, however, is to unleash these convictions.”

I couldn’t agree more! American businesses see shared responsibility when it comes to remedying the effects of climate change; individuals, the federal government and foreign governments also need to do their part. But it’s up to U.S. corporations to start the ball rolling. We need to bridge the “green gap,” especially when the pay-off represents an increased investment — both financially and emotionally — in the corporation by its stakeholders.


Technorati Tags: green gap, climate change, Harris Interactive, 2008 Makovsky Green Gap Survey, climate change issues, environment, business success, resource allocation, BusinessWeek, Green Business blog, Heather Greene, Robbin Goodman, business, communications, public relations

Passing Up the “National Pastime”!


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I always thought American baseball took pride in being known as the “national pastime.” To me “national pastime” means the sport of the American family; the sport that — regardless of gender or age or origin — almost anyone can play; and finally, the sport that brings millions of Americans together, regardless of income level and regardless of whether you are a participant, a fan or even have passing interest.

As ardent a capitalist as I am, I can’t understand why Major League Baseball would permit the Mets and Yankees (and probably other teams) in their new stadiums to charge nose-bleed ticket prices, thereby dramatically eroding our national pastime’s image by closing out the opportunity average families have to buy good seats, unless they want to “burn in the bleachers.”

We recently learned that the average cost for the most prized Mets seat at Citifield will be $494, Continue reading "Passing Up the “National Pastime”!"

Passing Up the “National Pastime”!


This post is by from My Three Cents


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




I always thought American baseball took pride in being known as the “national pastime.” To me “national pastime” means the sport of the American family; the sport that — regardless of gender or age or origin — almost anyone can play; and finally, the sport that brings millions of Americans together, regardless of income level and regardless of whether you are a participant, a fan or even have passing interest.

As ardent a capitalist as I am, I can’t understand why Major League Baseball would permit the Mets and Yankees (and probably other teams) in their new stadiums to charge nose-bleed ticket prices, thereby dramatically eroding our national pastime’s image by closing out the opportunity average families have to buy good seats, unless they want to “burn in the bleachers.”

We recently learned that the average cost for the most prized Mets seat at Citifield will be $494, Continue reading "Passing Up the “National Pastime”!"

Passing Up the “National Pastime”!


This post is by from My Three Cents


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




I always thought American baseball took pride in being known as the “national pastime.” To me “national pastime” means the sport of the American family; the sport that — regardless of gender or age or origin — almost anyone can play; and finally, the sport that brings millions of Americans together, regardless of income level and regardless of whether you are a participant, a fan or even have passing interest.

As ardent a capitalist as I am, I can’t understand why Major League Baseball would permit the Mets and Yankees (and probably other teams) in their new stadiums to charge nose-bleed ticket prices, thereby dramatically eroding our national pastime’s image by closing out the opportunity average families have to buy good seats, unless they want to “burn in the bleachers.”

We recently learned that the average cost for the most prized Mets seat at Citifield will be $494, a 79% increase over current rates. And at Yankee Stadium: $2500. They go down from there – as no doubt will middle-class fan attendance.

Is this the way to grow the game, inspire a broad fan base, encourage children to participate, build support and compete with other sports? As baseball caters to corporate expense accounts, they lose the largest segment of society from where their fan base has emanated.

While football is no less guilty, there are only roughly 16 games per season compared to more than 10 times that number in baseball. Greater supply. Lower demand. More affordable pricing. Isn’t that the smarter strategy?




Technorati Tags: National Pastime, baseball, sport, Major League Baseball, baseball ticket prices, middle class, Mets, Yankees, business, communications, public relations

Getting Mad for Nothing!


This post is by from My Three Cents


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One of my earliest experiences as an agency person was seeing an angry client rail about pulling his ads from a particular publication because he didn’t like something in an article about his company. I can’t remember the precise issue that roused his ire, but I remember that it was relatively minor and that, even if it weren’t, there were a whole host of reasons not to threaten someone on the editorial side with pressure on the advertising side.

With the advent of the internet, having a hissy fit about editorial content just expands the audience for an unflattering depiction of your company and its executives.

There was ample proof of this last month when Mad Magazine published a four-page parody of a Circuit City ad. You can see the “Sucker City” spoof on the Consumerist blog.

A thin-skinned Circuit City executive named Elizabeth Barron ordered all stores to “immediately remove all issues and copies” of the magazine from the sales floor and “throw them away.”

Her email was picked up by thousands of bloggers and hundreds of mainstream media and read by hundreds of thousands more, who added their own snarky commentary to the mix (such as this one: “Way to go, Circuit City. Your response to this means it's the first time anybody has paid attention to Mad Magazine in fifteen years.”)

The whole brouhaha calmed down the very next day, when Jim Babb, a savvy Circuit City communications pro, wrote an absolutely charming letter to the Consumerist that showed he had a sense of humor:

I spotted the article about Circuit City and MAD Magazine on your site.

Fyi, I became aware of this "situation" only this morning, and I have sent a note today to the Editors of MAD Magazine.

Speaking as "an embarrassed corporate PR Guy," I apologized for the fact that some overly-sensitive souls at our corporate headquarters ordered the removal of the August issue of MAD Magazine from our stores. Please keep in mind that only 40 of our 700 stores sell magazines at all.

The parody of our newspaper ad in the August MAD was very clever. Most of us at Circuit City share a rich sense of humor and irony...but there are occasional temporary lapses.

We apologize for the knee-jerk reaction, and have issued a retraction order; the affected stores are being directed to put the magazines back on sale.

As a gesture of our apology and deep respect for the folks at MAD Magazine, we are creating a cross-departmental task force to study the importance of humor in the corporate workplace and expect the resulting PowerPoint presentation to top out at least 300 pages, chock full of charts, graphs and company action plans.

In addition I have offered to send the MAD Magazine Editor a $20.00 Circuit City Gift Card, toward the purchase of a Nintendo Wii...if he can find one!

A sincere apology … delivered swiftly … with a convincing promise that the problem will not recur. That’s the essence of good media relations and great crisis communications.



Technorati Tags: Circuit City, Mad Magazine, Sucker City, Elizabeth Barron, Jim Babb, Consumerist, business, communications, public relations